/ Thursday, March 2nd, 2006 /
“Thank you for letting me know” Grant replies, the phone he’d held to his ear lowered into his lap as departing words are shared. Within seconds, Taylor knocks at his door, the distraught face he wears shifting as the woman is welcomed in. “We’re on in an hour” Taylor calls out, a mug pressed to her lips as her eyes fall upon Grant, the man nodding while he replies with a simple “okay.”
With a nod of her own, Taylor turns to leave before thinking better of her decision, standing in the spacious doorway for a moment before turning back. “Is everything alright?” Taylor wonders aloud, Grant’s fingers locking together as he nods again. “Everything’s fine” Grant replies, the eyes on Taylor narrowing as she steps further into the room, taking a seat before Grant’s desk just as the man’s phone begins to buzz.
“You going to get that?” Taylor asks, watching the man remove the device from his desktop, tossing it into his drawer. “It feels like we’re about to have a conversation” Grant replies, “it would be rude to waste your time with a phone call.” Suspicious, Taylor challenges Grant on his statement just as the buzzing ceases. “And yet, that’s never stopped you before” Taylor remarks, prompting Grant to hang his head with a playful smirk as Taylor asks further.
“What’s up with it?” Taylor asks, the man biting his lip as he peers through the glass entry, a newsroom of men and women hard at work. Swallowing his pride, Grant puts professionalism aside to answer the woman’s question, immediately changing the dynamic of the evening’s broadcast in the process. “It’s my brother” Grant replies, Taylor furrowing her brows at the man as he continues, “he crashed his car on the ‘82, now he’s in the hospital.”
“Oh god, is he alright?” Taylor inquires, how little Grant seems to be affected by it genuinely concerning her. “I don’t know yet” Grant replies, his words spoken as if he were talking about the status of a house up for sale, “he’s in surgery right now as far as I know.” Propelling herself forward, Taylor walks to the other side of Grant’s desk, the man having stood from his chair to throw his blazer on.
“If you need to take tonight off, it’s not an issue” Taylor explains, her hand reaching out for Grant, placed upon his shoulder. Immediately upon the suggestion made, Grant turns towards the woman with widened eyes, the refusal of her offer coming almost as quickly. “The last thing I need to do right now is stay here and think about it all any more than I already have” Grant replies, “I like doing the news, I want to do the news, and right now, I need to do the news.”
His voice never raising, Grant keeps himself composed, though the desperation to go through with tonight’s broadcast is easily understood. Quietly, Taylor offers her approval, sympathizing with the place he’s coming from. Reaching down, Taylor removes the phone from Grant’s desk, only allowing him on air under the condition that he keep his phone on him throughout the broadcast.
With a slight disappointment, Grant gives in, knowing her approval to be a break of the woman’s character. “Thank you” Grant says, knowing Taylor to have ignored her best instinct to help him, appreciative of her compassion. “Of course” Taylor mutters in a whisper, her hand still resting upon the man’s shoulder for the next few seconds.
With a smile, Grant forgets about everything going on in the moment, looking into the woman’s face as intently as she does his, the moment only ending when she suddenly breaks the gaze. Removing her hand from the man’s shoulder, Taylor awkwardly rubs her opposite arm in embarrassment as the pair shake off the encounter, leaving the room and reminding him of the time that remains before showtime.
Exiting the office, Taylor returns to the newsroom as Grant stays behind, the encounter between the two enough to keep him from thinking about the other matters at hand. After a few minutes, the phone Taylor had placed back into his hands begins to buzz, the slight smile on his face disappearing. With a deep breath, Grant flips the top of the phone open, lifting the earphone to the side of his head and greeting those on the other line, “hello?”
= Tonight at 9 is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series belong to Zachary Serra and the entity of Pacer1 Media from the start of Season 1 onwards =
“When we return, Drew Agnes and Brenda Holkes will join me to discuss the potential impacts of the Patriot Act” the brunette woman announces, “I’m Carly Carpenter, and we’ll be right back with more Issues of our Nation.” Stepping off set, the woman removes the piece from her ear and walks towards an empty desk just off camera, an applause from afar catching her attention before she can even spot the open area.
“I know you do great numbers anyway, but why Drew Agnes?” the man questions, the curiosity on his face putting a smirk on Carly’s. “We can’t all have no-guest shows Aiden” Carly replies, tapping the man on the arm and continuing to walk, Aiden adjusting course in step with the woman. “I get that, but do you expect me to believe there aren’t eighty other more qualified guests in New York than Drew Agnes?” Aiden inquires, a suggestion Carly finds agreement with.
“He knows absolutely nothing about anything” Carly explains, “but what he lacks in knowledge is what he makes up for in character, and character gets numbers.” With a nod, Aiden surrenders the point, continuing to walk with the woman through the newsroom. Almost as if the reason behind his sudden conversation had slipped his mind, Aiden puts a halt on the fun soft jab-trading to discuss matters relative to on-camera work.
“Taylor and Grant, but mostly Taylor, wanted me to ask if you wanted a spot once a week at nine o’clock” Aiden explains, “the network wants less field agent reporting and more of... well... you.” With a grin, Carly asks of the motivation behind such an offer. “I’ve been her lead in for the last three years, what’s changed now?” Carly quandaries, Aiden suddenly quiet, a reaction the woman notices, stopping to turn back to the man.
“Your numbers are going up and you’re in magazines every other day at this point” Aiden confesses, “and they show a bit more than just knee-level skirts and a blazer.” With a chuckle, Carly nods to herself, telling Aiden to let the pair of anchors she precedes know of her refusal. Walking off, Carly begins for her office before Aiden catches up, tapping her on the elbow with an apologetic look on his face.
“I really didn’t want to ask you” Aiden adds, the woman seeing the sincerity in his apology, using it to push his buttons a little bit. “You think I wasn’t pretty enough?” Carly asks, flustering Aiden the moment she asks, the man stumbling over his words to correct the supposed mistake. With a smile, Carly stops the man before his apologies can continue, tapping Aiden on the jaw as she tells him to relax.
“I’m just fucking with you” Carly assures, Aiden anxiously laughing the encounter off as another man approaches. “What’s going on?” the man asks, Carly’s face dropping the animated expression in favour of a dull, less charmed one. “Aiden was just offering me a spot with Taylor and Grant, Juno” Carly explains, the man, who stands noticeably taller than both Carly and Aiden, wrapping his arm around the woman.
“You gonna accept it?” Juno asks, the woman replying otherwise. “The timing didn’t work out and nothing else was available” Carly answers, her eyes glancing towards Aiden as Juno looks to him, the man backing the woman’s claims. “Well that’s unfortunate” the man responds, giving Carly a peck on the cheek as she prepares to return to the air. “I’ll see you after the show” Juno calls out, Carly turning back to give a thumbs up, her eyes unable to avoid Aiden.
“She’s great” Juno mutters aloud, Aiden standing uncomfortably still, nodding to the man before walking off. “You’ve certainly seemed to have found the one” Aiden replies, a suggestion which Juno agrees with. “I definitely have” the man replies, “and I really hope I don’t catch anyone trying to take her from me.” Stopping in his tracks and looking back, Aiden finds Juno turning away from Carly and looking back towards his direction.
“I’m just saying, y’know?” Juno reiterates, “in case anyone gets any ideas. “ With a nod, Aiden gives Juno a thumbs up and continues walking away, those at the desks in the newsroom watching Aiden with sympathy, a gesture which Juno has found himself the frequent cause of.
Leant over the sink in the bathroom of his office, Grant takes in deep breaths as his head hangs towards the ceramic bowl, eyes swirling around the glistening reflection and towards the drain like running water. Hand quickly reaching for the knob, Grant lets the cold tap run for a few seconds before coupling his hands together, catching a handful of the frigid liquid.
In a moment, the caught waters are taken to his face and run over his newborn baby-like smooth skin, the droplets running down his cheeks and falling into the bowl. Doing this a few more times, Grant blows a puff of air from his mouth while his fingers turn the knob the opposite way, the only water now hitting the ceramic bowl being the droplets from his face.
Taking in one breath after another, Grant slowly lifts his face towards the mirror, the water running down onto the collar of his shirt as he makes eye contact with himself. His expression deflated and defeated, Grant takes his fingers and pushes his lips apart, forming an ingenuine smile that he slowly allows to stiffen. His fingers pulling away from his face, Grant retracts his facial muscles to keep the smile on, his eyes opening wider to present a plastic-like look of false happiness.
With a nod, Grant walks away from his sink and returns to his office, tightening his tie and throwing a blazer over his shoulders before emerging from his office. Face drying off with each step, Grant holds his eyes towards the control room, hand extending upon the door before locking eyes onto Taylor and Aiden. “We almost ready?” Grant says in an excited tone, Taylor putting on a voice of equally-feigned excitement as she responds.
“Indeed, Carly’s two minutes away from sendoff” Taylor replies, the tone in which she greets Grant with noticeably uncharacteristic, prompting Aiden to look at her in a way that shows reluctance in belief. “You two gonna donate half your wardrobe to the homeless after the show or something?” Aiden questions, his arms crossed as he turns back to the wall of monitors ahead of him.
With a shrug, Taylor walks up to Grant and accompanies him out of the room, asking if he’s received another phone call in passing as of yet. “Not yet. I hope it stays that way until after the show” Grant replies, Taylor and himself leaving the room to Aiden and his crew. “They haven’t started sleeping together yet, have they?” Aiden asks the men behind the controls, an equal lack of knowledge voiced from Aiden’s peers.
“I’m just glad you noticed something was off, too” one of the men calls out, Aiden realizing the truth behind such suspicions upon a similar conclusion being drawn by a second party. “Just for safety, let’s keep the cameras above hip-level” Aiden jokes, getting laughter out of those behind him. Despite the humor fluttering throughout the room, Aiden’s eyes lock onto Juno, the large man, unaware of Aiden’s sights being on him, takes a seat in the newsroom to watch the broadcast.
With a deep breath, Aiden puts his attention back where it’s needed and clears the audio between himself as the anchors. “We’re all good on this side” Taylor replies, both she and Grant taking their seats and placing their scripts upon the desk’s glass surface. Instinctively, Grant lays his phone out upon the desktop as well, allowing it to rest there as the cameras count backwards from twenty seconds.
Within a moment, the buzzing begins, both Grant and Taylor looking upon the phone, it’s rapid vibration creating an audible disruption with the help of the glass. In nearly the same moment that it began ringing, Grant takes the phone and returns it to his pocket, looking toward Taylor and nipping at the conversation before it has the chance to start.
“I’ll call them back at the next break” Grant explains, Taylor already having leaned in to speak with him, returning to her original posture upon Grant’s guarantee. “Good evening, I’m Grant Haste” the man exclaims, a brief second of silence coming from Taylor as she puts her mind back to the show. “I’m Taylor English, and tonight at nine…”
His attention taken away from the screen before him, Vickers allows the source of the knocking upon his office door to enter, turning away from Taylor and Grant’s show to find an unfamiliar man in a suit approaching his desk. “What can I do for you?” Vickers asks aloud, the man introducing himself as he extends his hand, his business card held between his index and middle fingers.
“My name is Marcus Hobbs, I represent Mr. Howard Nalty” the man greets, Vickers taking the card from his hand, which remains outstretched, this time offering a handshake. Glancing at the card for a mere moment, Vickers looks back to Hobbs, noticing the extended hand and paying it no mind. “I don’t shake the hands of people that have no issues representing rapists” Vickers explains, an insulted Marcus nodding to himself as he takes a seat.
“Don’t make yourself at home, either” Vickers exclaims before Marcus can sit down, using a different way of telling Marcus to say what he needs to and leave. “I’m not going to waste my time with you, I have to watch the news… So get to it” Vickers remarks, watching Marcus match his approach. “Your employee, Grant Haste, has been avoiding my client’s requests to speak privately for the last two months” Marcus explains, a smile placed on Vickers’ face.
“And he’ll continue to do so, now have a good rest of your evening” Vickers replies, turning away from the lawyer and looking back towards the television set. “My client is giving Grant one last offer to speak with him privately or else he’ll be subpoenaed to appear in court” Marcus explains, Vickers reminding the man of Grant’s testimony having already been offered in his initial broadcast.
“The issue isn’t that he’ll be wanted to appear, but that he’ll be charged with obstruction of justice as well” Marcus explains, finally regaining Vickers’ attention, the older man turning around in his chair. “Our network has already squared away a deal with police to avoid charges in return for a first-hand statement” Vickers replies, a response which Marcus has no care over.
“The police won’t be the ones charging Grant” Marcus explains, Vickers immediately questioning who will. “Ms. Jessica Malichi has offered to press charges on Grant of obstruction of justice if he does not comply with Howard Nalty’s requests” the lawyer reveals, widening the eyes of Vickers. “Why would she do that?” Vickers wonders aloud, Marcus turning the tables of power into his favour, picking up his briefcase and making for the door.
“I’m not required to tell you anything more than I already have” Marcus responds, continuing his exit as Vickers calls for his return. Having done as was necessary, Marcus vanishes through the exit, leaving Vickers in the dark room alone, the glass door closing just as the broadcast returns from commercial. Grant’s voice the first he hears upon the program’s return, Vickers presses his hands at his hips, unsure how to digest the information given.
“We have the video package ready?” Aiden asks aloud, pleased with the answers he receives. Turning back towards the commercials on the monitor, Aiden watches Grant remove his phone from the blazer over his body and punch in a number. “Let’s just make sure whatever signal Grant is shooting out wont fuck with the broadcast” Aiden calls aloud, looking back towards the anchor desk before noticing a scene just off to the side of it.
Nothing unusual occurred, the simple sight of Carly walking up to Juno and wrapping her arms around his neck catches Aiden’s attention, the man watching the pair’s every step toward the exits before his control team calls out a question, forcing the man back into the moment.
“Sorry, you called twenty seconds before the intro” Grant explains to the other end, “how is he?” Only able to hear garbled voices on the other end of the line from her seat at the table, Taylor looks on at the man beside her, attempting to pick out any changes in his facial expressions. “Okay, thanks for keeping me up to speed” Grant replies, “I’ll call you after the show.”
With that, the man folds the phone together and returns it to his blazer pocket, immediately prodded for an update from Taylor. “Still in surgery, they were just letting me know that they put him under” Grant replies, Taylor flashing a smile and nod before looking back down to her papers.
“Anyone see that?” Aiden asks out to the controls, those behind the monitors looking at the main feed, Grant simply looking blankly towards the ground beside the table. “Y’know, I get really anxious when he just blanks out like that” Aiden calls aloud, still not being informed of the situation Grant finds himself embroiled in.
His head looking off to the side, Grant just stares blankly at the floor ahead of his office door, eyes unmoving and mannerisms unchanged. “We’re back in twenty” Aiden calls out through the earpieces, Taylor capping the highlighter she runs over her notes while Grant looks back up toward the monitor, hands folding together before himself on the desk.
“Welcome back, it’s nine thirty-seven, eastern time” Grant greets those at home, continuing through the rundown with ease as Taylor watches on.
“You were great tonight” Juno assures, his breath becoming fog the moment it leaves his lips, the smaller-in-stature Carly strolling beside the man along the New York sidewalks. “You’re always great, that’s obvious” Juno clarifies, “but tonight, you were perfect in every category!” With a smile, Carly thanks the man for the support, assuring him that it was all camera work and makeup.
“Oh come on, you don’t need makeup to be magazine cover material” Juno replies, biting into the hot dog he and his girlfriend had ordered along the way. “They say the camera adds ten pounds, so it’s nice to think makeup is a way of shaving fifteen off” Carly replies, “but I appreciate the gesture nonetheless.”
With a smirk, Juno nods to himself mid-bite, simply repeating the word ‘camera’ aloud as he lets his dinner settle. “Speaking of cameras, that Aiden guy seems to be pretty good at working them” Juno mentions, a suggestion Carly cautiously agrees with, commending the man for his work. “He’s great at putting a show together, you’re right about that” Carly replies, a response Juno only nods at.
“Why didn’t you wanna do Tonight at Nine?” Juno inquires, the woman explaining that the timing never fit quite right. “I usually go back to my office, get changed and write down whatever I think about while I’m on air so I won’t forget about it” Carly explains, “the time they would’ve wanted me on for would have changed that up, and I already hate my schedule changing as it is.”
“So, it doesn’t have anything to do with me?” Juno replies, curious as Carly stops, prompting the man to cease his progress as well. “No, of course not” Carly responds, “what about us would make me turn down the show?” Shrugging, Juno tells the woman that he isn’t clueless to his own actions, explaining that he’s more than already aware of his jealousy.
“I won’t be stupid, Aiden’s obviously a good looking guy” Juno explains, “but more than that, you two seem to be… friendly… with each other.” Her eyebrows furrowed, Carly assures Juno that interactions between the pair are nothing more than kind banter. “I don’t like being on the bad side of anyone I work with, let alone the people manning the cameras I’m in front of” Carly explains, “Aiden’s just as dedicated to his job as I am, we just have things in common- so what?”
“Do we have things in common?” Juno quickly asks, Carly’s expression treating him as if he were asking the one question most obvious to answer. “Of course we do!” Carly responds, “we wouldn’t have become a couple if we didn’t have a lot of things in common!” With a nod, Juno looks back to the direction they were heading and begins walking again, prompting Carly to begin her pace once more to keep up.
“Is there something going on I need to know about?” Carly asks aloud, Juno shaking his head as his teeth sink down into his dog once more. “Is there something going on with you I need to know about?” Juno counters with the same question. “What ‘something’ would that be, Juno?” Carly replies, the man not hesitating to get toward the obvious conclusion he was starting to make.
“Do you like Aiden?” Juno inquires, Carly’s eyes narrowing as the suggestion is made. “You’ve got real jealousy problems” Carly responds, shaking her head in disapproval before walking off, Juno quick to catch up with her, taking her arm into his hand. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” Juno calls out, pulling Carly back, immediately apologetic for his implication.
“That was too far, I’m sorry” Juno persists, Carly crossing her arms as she looks back to the man, who tosses the rest of his hot dog into the trash. “You can’t keep doing this, Juno” Carly explains, “if you keep thinking I want every guy I talk with to fuck me, we’re going to start having some serious issues.”
Aware of his mistake, Juno agrees, understanding the place in which Carly is coming from. “I’ll stop, you’re right” Juno replies, the frustration in Carly’s face fading as she accepts his apology, continuing to share the walk with him.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, Aiden!” Taylor calls out, pointing out toward her producer, who points back silently as he makes for the exit. Her hair running over her shoulders as she walks toward her office, Taylor notices the lamp she left on at her desk, lighting the room in a way that Grant’s does not. While a dim shade of orange peers through the glass door of her space, the interior of Grant’s is cloaked in dark nothingness, just a massive glass-panel of nothing.
Stopping in her tracks, Taylor looks toward Grant’s office and approaches, the ball of her index fingers’ knuckle tapping against the glass casing of Grant’s door. Not expecting a response, having assumed the man would wish to contact his family from the warmth of his own home, Taylor is surprised when the voice inside welcomes whomever stands at his attention.
Reaching down, Taylor pulls in the handle and walks into the dark room, the moonlight that hides behind the clouds above New York City only enough to make out Grant’s figure. Walking up to his desk, Taylor turns on Grant’s desk lamp, noticing his cell phone left on the hand-crafted wood finish, one of the pictures on his desk having been left toppled over.
Rolling one of the chairs from in front of Grant’s desk towards the window, Taylor sets it up beside the man’s own, Grant peering at the skyline of the city with a glass of liquor in his hand. “Everything alright?” Taylor asks, the man flashing her a half-smile with a nod. Taking the moment to talk, Taylor looks out at the view of the city, a tight-lipped smile coming over her, the view their office affords them never growing old.
“You were really great tonight” Taylor says aloud, Grant smiling at her and reciprocating the kind words. “You’re always great, so it’s not really a surprise anymore” Grant explains, “but you were still equally great tonight.” Her elbow resting against the chair’s arm, Taylor joins Grant in looking back out at the skylight, the pair taking in the moment until Grant’s phone begins buzzing again.
“They went to bed for the night” Grant exclaims before Taylor can suggest he answer, “probably some telemarketer trying to get me to buy a timeshare.” With a chuckle, Taylor tells Grant that she has high hopes for his brother, a gesture that Grant silently smiles at. With a nod, Grant looks back towards his drink, taking another swig as Taylor points out her thoughts on the matter, trying to look through the lens of logic.
“He was obviously stable enough to operate on, certainly stable enough for them to put him under!” Taylor explains, Grant’s eyes locking back onto the glass to allow the woman’s continuation, his fingers pressing harder into the shell the longer she goes on. “And car accidents aren’t always bad! The car can take enough of a beating to act as a shield of sorts…” Taylor persists, “if I’m looking at it, I’ve got a lot of hope for something that-”
Before she can continue, her efforts are paused by Grant, the man relinquishing his strengthening grip on the glass as he turns toward her, interjecting his own words between those of Taylor’s, silencing her immediately.
“He died. My brother died” Grant murmurs, Taylor’s words stopping immediately, her mouth still open as her brain processes the information she’s just received. “Wh- When?” Taylor asks, arm pressed against the back of the chair as Grant looks toward his watch. “About… about an hour ago” Grant replies, the time on his watch reading ten forty-eight o’clock, “seventy-one minutes ago.”
Silence overcoming the pair for a few seconds, Grant takes it as his signal to keep sharing. “During the break when I said he went under, my mother called sobbing” Grant continues, “just said he was gone and I thanked her for letting me know… It’s okay.” In awe, Taylor continues to sit there, jaw dropped as Grant does his best to present her with a half-smile.
“You’d just been sitting there-” Taylor begins again, Grant stopping her from continuing, keeping his assurance intact. “It’s okay, really… I’m okay” Grant replies, swallowing the build up in his mouth before concluding, “I’m okay. I wanted… I needed to. I’m okay.”
Finally closing her mouth, Taylor sits back into her seat, her head still turned towards Grant, who stares at the window, looking around the city. In the reflection, Grant sees himself, slumped in his chair with a glass of liquor in his hand as Taylor still looks to him, a sight that harrows the man, the strength to keep his composed look rapidly depleting until it fades altogether.
Jaw shaking, Grant’s face quickly devolves into one of pain, filled with misery and lost hope. His tears beginning to fall quickly, Grant begins to sob, trying his best to hide it, but failing immediately. Without hesitation, Taylor takes the glass from his hand, returning it to his desk and pulling Grant into an embrace, the tears continuing to run and the sobs remaining unleashed.
“I’m so sorry, Grant” Taylor mutters, her chin pressed against the top of the man’s head, both hands cradling Grant’s distraught body, his emotions having simply overwhelmed him. The dim light now bringing visibility into the office, the fogged glass appears a dark orange, the faded outline of a destroyed man held against the arms of an apologetic friend seceding the black nothingness, a representation unbeknownst to the pair of there being a light to come from all darkness.
== Tonight at 9 ==